Andrew Caplen has won a five-man race for the post of deputy vice-president elect of the Law Society, meaning he will become president in 2014.
Mr Caplen has represented Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on the Law Society council since 2000 and has appeared as an advocate in the European Court of Justice.
This was not his first tilt at the post and he is reported to have been elected by fellow council members ahead of high-profile criminal lawyer Ian Kelsey, Sundeep Bhatia, who represents ethnic minority solicitors, south London solicitor David Taylor, and Birmingham member Derek French.
Mr Caplen qualified in 1982 and is a consultant at four-partner Southampton firm Abels, which has both of the Law Society’s main quality marks – Lexcel and the Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
He was originally a litigator, which is when he appeared in Europe, but now works in commercial and domestic conveyancing, company and partnership law, probate and criminal litigation.
Mr Caplen chairs the Law Society’s management board and co-chairs the new business oversight board, which manages the relationship between the society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority and is central to Chancery Lane’s new internal governance arrangements.
As chairman of the access to justice committee, he co-wrote and co-edited the access to justice review, which underpinned the Law Society ‘Sound Off for Justice’ campaign.
Mr Caplen said: “It is a tremendous honour and a weighty responsibility to have been chosen by my peers to serve in this way.
“We are in an era of change for legal services, with increasing competition, new models of business ownership and reduced public funding for legal aid. Working with the Council, with management and staff, I aim to ensure that the Law Society continues to support its members as they overcome the challenges and make the most of opportunities which arise from these changes.”
Law Society chief executive Des Hudson said: “May I congratulate all of the candidates who stood in the election. They presented a set of strong choices to Council.
“Andrew has already made a considerable contribution to the society through more than a decade on the Council and involvement in some of its most prominent boards and committees. The management team and staff look forward to continuing to work with him in his new capacity.”
He will formally assume the role at the Law Society AGM in July, when Lucy Scott-Moncrieff will become president and Nick Fluck vice-president.